Good morning, readers! Please give a warm welcome to Ian Walkley, who's here today to discuss his new release, NO REMORSE. This cover caught my attention right away, and I was dying to know more. It especially appealed to me given that it also addresses human trafficking, which as you all know, I deal with in the Black Opal series as Tori St. Claire.
I think you'll be equally intrigued!
I asked Ian to share a bit about his inspiration and where the idea for NO REMORSE stemmed from. Here's what he had to say:
When I was running my marketing consultancy I traveled a great deal, and loved to read escapist thrillers while flying. I wanted to write a book that other travelers would enjoy. Also, I like action and suspense, and get bored with mysteries that fill pages with manipulated plots designed to delay the revealing of a secret. Thrillers are about tension that makes the reader want to turn the page. Many men don’t read fiction, and I want to write stories that get men reading again, while also appealing to female readers. Readers have written to me about how they stayed up all night to finish No Remorse, or how their husband wouldn’t pay them attention until he had finished the book. So I think the answer is short chapters, lots of action, and a mix of conflict, violence and sex.
In my younger days, my writing heroes were Ludlum, Maclean, Wilbur Smith—action, adventure, global conspiracies—so I naturally gravitated to thrillers. When I began writing No Remorse, in 2008, I had in mind writing a Ludlum-esque prologue about some mysterious event, and weaving a story around it. I was curious about Saddam’s missing WMD’s, so I came up with the idea of Saddam passing nuclear materials to an old Saudi Prince who buried them in the Arabian desert just before the invasion.
However, over the three years I was writing the book many things occurred that kept forcing me to rewrite the story. I came to the view that everyone wanted to put Iraq behind them, and more recently Osama Bin Laden was killed. In the end, I spent a further six months rewriting the story so that it would not date.
No Remorse in its final form is the story of the kidnapping of two American teenage girls on holiday in Mexico, and the subsequent search for them by a former special operations soldier Lee McCloud (Mac). I have retained the theme of ‘no remorse’ in terms of achieving retribution for the evil that bad people have done to others.
I researched many aspects of No Remorse, traveling to Paris, London and Dubai, and activities of the bad guys such as human trafficking, which is a massive global trade rivaling drugs in illegal earnings. There are some terrible things happening with the organized kidnapping and enslaving of women and children, and many countries turn a blind eye to it. I also did a considerable amount of research into the corruption of the global financial system, computer hacking, and read many non-fiction accounts from special forces operators.
I tried to make the relationship between Mac and Tally a love-hate thing, like in the TV series Moonlighting, or in the film Mr & Mrs Smith. In Mac’s case, he feels a lack of trust towards attractive women, because his fiancée left him for his brother four weeks before their wedding. Will this make it difficult to work with Tally, the woman who is effectively his boss? Of course.
Many stories featuring soldiers or cops make the hero too powerful. I wanted my hero to make the sort of mistakes people make in real life, to be out of his depth at times, in order to make the achievement of his goal that much more difficult. To help develop Mac’s and Tally’s character traits, I watched those shows again, and others like The Shield, which features a stubborn cop considered a loose cannon by his boss.
Fascinating, yes? Let's take a peek at a particularly poignant scene:
“You’re late. We think perhaps you do not want your daughters back, eh?”
“Sorry,” Bob said, his breathing short and sharp. “We took a wrong turn coming into the dam. The signs were confusing.”
The man grunted and glanced at the one with the knife. “Check them.”
Knife Man patted them down, searched their pockets, nodded the all clear.
“You have our money?”
“Of course.” Bob’s voice came through deep and confident in his earpiece, although the armpits of his shirt betrayed his anxiety. Be courteous but strong, Mac had advised him, otherwise they won’t respect you. Being a basketball coach undoubtedly helped. “And you have our daughters,” Bob said. A statement, not a question. He held out the briefcase. “Here’s the money. We didn’t contact the police.”
Several kidnappers gave a hearty laugh.
The leader smirked. “We wouldn’t be here if you had, gringo. But your daughters would be. With bullets in their heads.” He gestured to a kidnapper wearing a red bandana around his neck. “Abrirlos,” he ordered, and the man took both briefcases and unclipped the locks.